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August 7, 2014

By Linda Beerman
We celebrated our forty-sixth wedding anniversary this past weekend. Some would say that is a long time with one person. I guess it is, but more and more I am thinking that forever isn't long enough. It seemed like a long way off when we spoke our vows that warm, August night in 1968. I had just graduated from Winona State, and was looking forward to my first teaching job in Heron Lake, Minnesota. Dan was farming and milking cows with his parents. Life was good, and we were excited to begin this journey called marriage.

We were fortunate to get away from the cows for a whole week and travel to Duluth. We had much more time than money, so we stayed in little cabins on our trip "up north". Some of them really needed to be torn down, but I remember it as a fun adventure for two young people who hadn't traveled much. When we arrived in Duluth it was 99 degrees that evening. An old gentleman eating beside us at Kentucky Fried Chicken said he couldn't remember it ever being that hot in Duluth. We found a really lovely cabin along the north shore, and by morning it was 40 degrees! We were freezing, and even had to build a fire. It proved to be one of our favorite places to visit, and have vacationed there a few more times. Little did we know that many years later we would go back for me to receive my Masters degree in Education at St. Scholastica there.

We also spent one of our honeymoon nights with Dan's aunt and uncle in Evansville, Minnesota. They were fun people, and as we went to bed that night Dan's uncle knocked on our bedroom door. He showed us a phone on the wall and said it was a "fire phone". He was a volunteer fireman, and if there was a fire that night it would ring. He might have to come in and answer it...I'm not sure I slept much that night, while worrying that he might come through the door! Dan assured me he wouldn't, but a young bride never knows.

Many of our lunches on the trip came from a cooler we had packed. We stopped at little wayside parks or small town drive-ins with picnic tables. We not only enjoyed the view, but also the gallon of dill pickles we had gotten for a surprise wedding gift! (We never did find out who gave it to us, but suspect it was a good friend and college roommate of mine.) Sometimes other people would see us munching on them and ask where we got the pickles. We would just twist open the jar and share one with them.

The first year and a half of marriage we lived in a big, old house, just three-fourths mile from Dan's family south of Brewster. Our house, that we rented for fifty dollars a month, had seven bedrooms, two stairways, and was situated on a farmplace with another newer house. It housed the owners of the farm, along with their two young sons. We shared our house with a brood of mice, and a few lizard like creatures in our mostly dirt basement. I did laundry down there in a wringer machine every Saturday morning, and I usually saw one or two other living things moving around down there while I worked.

I remember some fall evenings being alone in the house correcting papers or writing lessons plans, while Dan was gone harvesting or doing fall tillage. In the quietness I would began to hear little mice feet somewhere above " sliding around and having little parties". Now I had learned to hate mice in my younger years, I think from my mom. I tolerated it for awhile, but then I would get completely crazy and half to journey down the road to my in-laws for company and what I considered protection. Thank goodness, I have learned over the years not to be so afraid of them. We seldom see them anymore inside our home, but outside on the farm, of course, they might flit by here or there. It seems outside, that there is room for both of us.

We furnished our first house probably like a lot of young married couples, with second hand furniture and whatever wedding gifts we received. We did buy one new appliance, and that was our stove from the Alco store in Worthington. We didn't have quite enough money to purchase it completely, so we had a contract for two payments. When it was time to sign the agreement, we were surprised that I would have to sign it instead of Dan. It was a couple weeks before his twenty-first birthday, and he was not allowed to make this purchase as a minor. (Ya...I am a few months older...) It seemed crazy to us, and we have always wondered why he was old enough to die in Viet Nam, but not be able to buy a stove!

We went to Okoboji for a couple days over the weekend to celebrate and just relax together. We so enjoyed a concert Saturday night by Jason Gray at the Okoboji Bible Conference, which was in its 80th year. It is held yearly the first week in August, right in the middle of the city of Arnolds Park. Then Sunday we went back for the morning worship. It was invigorating, encouraging, and challenging all at the same time. The amazing thing about this event, is that it is free for all who want to participate. In addition, walking and sitting by the water while people watching brought us smiles and even out loud laughter. Nutty bars and homemade fudge just added to the sweetness!

As I ponder those first days of our lives together, it brings back so many smiles and memories. On our way home Sunday evening, we drove by our first farm place. Interstate 90 now goes through part of that farm and our "home" is no longer there. We reminisced about how much things have changed in our years together, but that we have been so blessed. Hopefully we will celebrate many more, but right now it is best if we learn to "take one day at a time".

Matthew 6: 33-34: "But seek first His kingdom and his rightousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. "

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